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“I guess it’s just my life, and it’s just my body.” - Julia Jacklin

1. Opposite Game

My first kiss happens on a beach at sunset with my eighth grade boyfriend, carnival lights and pink sky swirling the background. Not on a display-bed in Sears with a 38-year-old in a Misfits t-shirt I met online. On a class trip to London, I lose my virginity to the eighth grade boyfriend on a floor at dawn, glowing from a green lava lamp, our friends snoring all around us. I’m so warm. He fucks me again in the shower with that big red dick I’d been grinding on for months and his hand over my mouth. When he goes down on me in the top bunk a few nights after, I don’t feel confused like I have nerve damage or something is unplugged inside me. He doesn’t dump me before our return flight home. I sleep through the trip while he plays with my hair and gives me his chocolate pudding cup cause I ate mine too fast to enjoy it. I don’t cry while he laughs at Borat in the seat behind me. The moment I get home I don’t dye my hair black and decide I’d rather be unsafe forever than search for fleeting pockets of safety. I never wonder why I can love his big red dick but not him. When my wisdom teeth get pulled the novocaine doesn’t feel familiar. There’s no reason for my mom to tell the oral surgeon to give me 800mg Tylenols instead of Vicodin. There are no reasons not to trust me. No one takes my heart and drains it, like toothpaste squeezed out a tube. Once it’s out you can’t get it back in. I didn’t have to lose my virginity to a guy in a black trench-coat, doggy-style, crying again, feeling nothing but carpet burn on my knees. I’m wet all the time. I’m so wet it doesn’t hurt, and blood only makes me wetter. Or, this time, there’s no blood. In this story, no one makes me bleed.

2. Canceling Out

When we get drunk in our hometown, in the bar where every inch of wall is covered in dollars, we go shot-for-shot, but I don’t blackout on Jäger and Bud Light. I’ve never woken up and remembered nothing. I don’t lick little baggies clean in the bathroom, sucking on them like Lifesavers. I can make conversation or be charming or bold or alone with someone without drinking. In his childhood bedroom, (the one his mom never let me into, where he tried to grow weed inside a gutted computer) we kiss after thirteen years apart. We lay down and I wonder how many times he jerked off on this mattress thinking about me. I don’t want to be anywhere else. His puffy mouth is so soft. I don’t pretend his lips are a girl’s. I don’t even think about it. I was a good kid moms liked and didn’t ban from their houses or warn other moms about. Every dad wants me to marry their son. I’m as turned on as I was when we were fourteen dry-humping in the woods, pelvis smashing pelvis against a pine tree. Even more now because we’re older and know what we’re doing. I rub against his thick meaty thighs that I want to take a knife and fork to. His cum shoots up me and hits a button only his perfect fat dick can reach. In his tiny bed, my cheek isn’t annoyed by his rug of chest hair. In the morning, we don’t move. I’m satisfied. I’m easy to love. I’m not freezing and still drunk. I don’t pull out pubes stuck in my teeth in an Uber to my mom’s. I don’t lie to the driver about my life. It never crosses my mind.

3. My Horny Straight Fantasy

The following year we meet again, but fucking him around the holidays isn’t the only tradition I have left. After he cooks me the four-course seafood dinner with long white candles at the wooden table and his eyes, we don’t go to the garage and drink the liquor he’s kept in there since high school. I don’t need to get drunk to let someone see me. Instead, on the rug in the living room we lay nose-to-nose. His eyes are so fucking blue and his eyelashes are so thick and I don’t need to shut mine. I’m open everywhere. I roll over and rub my ass into his crotch while we watch 2 Fast 2 Furious because he wants to show it to me. We sleep there on the leather couch, suctioned slug on slug, sticky heat and muscle. I can sleep naked because there is nothing to be afraid of. My lust floods the house. Our sex closes a door instead of taking it off the hinges. We aren’t playing house. We aren’t tunneling into each other for a weekend to catch our breath. I’m not a cave to ride out a storm in. We don’t drive around wasted looking for blow with his gun rested on my thigh. We fuck in his dad’s truck and on the halfpipe he built when we were fourteen and in his parents’ bed. He goes down and props my hips up with his mom’s pillow and I squirt all over because I’m relaxed and oral sex doesn’t remind me of getting molested. Tears stream out of my pussy into his waiting mouth. With every contraction my whole body says FUCK YOU and I feel vindicated.

4. Double Negative

He flies home to the East Coast from California for a lot of weddings. When we’re apart he sends me videos of him building motorcycles shirtless and stroking his dick in a steamy shower mirror. We still have the same friends and they’re getting married. I’m always his date. I wear long floral gowns that never wrinkle. My nails are polished and clean. My heels get higher and higher. He twirls me around, whistling. Neither of us resemble our fathers. I don’t feel like I’m in drag when I wear makeup. I’m light and fertile and secure. He looks at woman-me the way girl-me always hoped he would. His awe floats around the room. We eat more seafood and laugh and lock eyes and laugh harder because we aren’t worried. Two glasses of white wine is enough. We don't do lines off a toilet at noon, while our friend's children screech on the other side of the door. Of course it’s my eighth-grade boyfriend in the end. The six foot three guy with the beard, wolf tattoo and ribeye body I drip au jus for, who’s known me since I was nine and remembers more of my childhood than I can. The man who draws blue hearts on love letters because he’s colorblind.

5. If I Hadn't Killed Me First

I get pregnant because we never use condoms. He’s always protected me. He picks me up and kisses my belly and demands I move to Joshua Tree to be with him. With a flick of my long blonde hair I leave my life behind. I leave my horrible dark life in the horrible dark. I’m always spinning but never sick. I never think about drugs. I’m the most adorable pregnant woman anyone has ever met. Instant effortless glowing mommy. I’m not disappointed, not cruel, not years away from getting clean. I’m not deciding whether to spend the last of my money on an abortion or enough drugs to kill both of us.

I move into the house he owns. It’s so hot he’s a homeowner. I’m not scared of houses or being landlocked. Everyone loves our love story but no one loves it as much as me. I don’t keep him a secret when I meet pretty women. He paints the crib purple and buys a cowhide rug to protect the hardwood. He installs a deep tin tub in the yard. He knows how to do shit like that, my Home Depot man. He tosses tiny yellow wildflowers in and washes my hair with prickly pear shampoo. We run to it at night on tiptoes, robes open with a bottle of Lambrusco, giggling as we climb in. The desert’s hot and cold comforts me. Shrouded by steam, he tells the story of when he pushed me too high on a swing-set and I flipped over the bar. I fell hard from high and landed on my head. An ambulance took me away with a foam collar around my throat to keep me still. I was so terrified I’d paralyzed you. Tucked between his legs, his hands lazily lather my full peachy tits. I swivel to kiss him, But you didn’t.

He’s never wanted me more. Who knew putting a baby in me would make his dick even harder? My dad-shaped hole has finally been spackled. My ass gets bigger along with my belly but everything else stays thin and he can’t stop sticking his giant calloused fingers inside me. He’s pulling something out of my body instead of just prying. I’m so fucking cute, bent over in my little sundress. I don’t feel like my head is being sawed off at the throat. I’m unashamed by my choices. I never want anything else. I’ll never want again.


image: Laura Brun